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Is the WeChat social retail model likely to catch on everywhere?

17 December 2018

Nanterre, December 17th 2018

 

The Chinese online business model, typified by WeChat, is leading to a kind of platform-based hegemony underpinned by ‘total life’ apps. Can this ‘social e-commerce’ model be replicated across the rest of the world? Not sure.

 

The West – in the wake of recent scandals – seems to have woken up to the potential dangers that may arise if intermediation platforms are able to achieve a monopoly position. In China on the other hand, the WeChat social network continues its amazing rise. WeChat, which claimed to have passed the milestone of a billion users a few months ago, now enjoys a quasi-monopolistic hold over the country’s social network-based business. And what a country it is! China is one of the most connected areas of the planet, with 770 million active Internet users, over 724 million of whom claim to use WeChat every day. And given that, on average, every Chinese citizen spends close to 90 minutes per day on the social networks, WeChat seems to have beautiful days ahead of it, considered considered as the Asian Facebook, it aims at being much more than that and could even lay the foundation of a new-generation, social network-based approach to e-commerce.

 

A fully-integrated ecosystem

 

In fact, the ‘platformisation’ of the economy that is now place in China is in many respects quite different from what is happening in Western countries. There are obvious cultural differences and neither the economic paradigms nor the governance models are the same. Nevertheless, they do have in common the goal often stated by the CEOs of the various networks and platforms: to build integrated ecosystems covering the vast majority – not to say the whole – of human interactions, be they social, political or economic.

 

Yvonne Li, a Brand Consultant at Q1 Consulting, a Chinese consultancy specialising in business intelligence, underlines: “Nowadays, WeChat is no longer only an app but an integral ecosystem providing services for your whole life.” The consequence of this is that WeChat seems to be becoming vital in people’s day-to-day lives. It is as if the app has now become a super-platform with a scarcely-disguised monopoly on all trade and all interactions between people. Ms Li points out that “WeChat works hard to create an ecosystem to bring all required partners together to develop the WeChat world (...) Now you can do everything within WeChat, including shopping, ordering taxis, restaurants, food delivery, city services, payments and so on.” This ‘all-inclusive’ platform certainly has the advantage of simplicity: everything available and accessible in one place, a centralised system around which gravitate a huge number of interconnected applications.

 

Mini-programmes spearheading an e-commerce revolution

 

These mini-programmes are nowadays drawing the attention of all Chinese retailers. Indeed close to 600,000 apps are already linked to the super- platform, bringing a total of 170 million users every day. Fully integrated into the WeChat social network, these apps interact with it, not only offering ease of use but increasing the likelihood that the content will go viral. In line with the unified approach of the ‘total platform’, WeChat also integrates financial services such as the WeChat Wallet, which now brings 69% of all revenue on the platform. It provides multiple functionality: ranging from instant online payment to offline payment based on QR codes, plus a consumer credit service.

 

This business model is not however exclusive to China. We already know Facebook Marketplace and Google Shopping. But this approach is clearly not as popular in the west as it is in China. This is mainly due to the force of habit: people are still firmly attached to bricks-and-mortar stores, and personal data protection is a key concern. After all, in this new social e-commerce world, the watchwords are interdependence and intercommunication, with everything underpinned by user data.

 

Online platforms accumulating totalitarian powers?

 

Meanwhile Chinese citizens certainly do not seem troubled by things about make Westerners hesitate – and are perhaps excessively concerned about their own privacy and ensuring full transparency on the use made of their personal data. “In China, people’s concern for data privacy is not quite as strict as among Western people. Apple Pay cannot find its way in Western countries, whereas in China a hundred million people use mobile payment and release their personal data as a matter of course,” explains China expert Yvonne Li. Nevertheless, the potential pitfall of totalitarian control is never far away. By taking on the guise of mini-societies that manage and control interaction between citizens and shaping behaviour by way of their conditions of use, the intermediation platforms are implicitly setting out to become a sort of basic governance mechanism, taking over some of the ‘royal’ prerogatives of sovereign states. We can certainly read this fear into some of the decisions made by the Chinese authorities, leading them to repeatedly curb the activities of the social networks. Similar concerns undoubtedly also explain what prompted various legislative bodies to summon Mark Zuckerberg to take part in a number of official hearings in recent months.

 

Written in partnership with l'Atelier

 

 


Supporting sustainable land management with responsible financing

12 December 2018

Nanterre, December 12th 2018

 

According to the new World Atlas of Desertification published by the European Commission in June 2018, over 75% of the Earth’s land area is already degraded, and over 90% could become degraded by 2050. Land degradation is often a consequence of overgrazing, deforestation and intensive farming practices. Furthermore, land and climate are intimately linked: degraded land retains less carbon, and land use accounts for 25% of greenhouse gas emissions. 

 

To address these challenges, sustainable land management is an effective way to combat climate change. Strategies and techniques such as better water management, agroforestry and crop rotation help meet the needs of populations while respecting natural resources. Sustainable land management increases productivity and biodiversity while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

 

However, deploying such solutions on a large scale requires substantial financial resources that cannot be covered by public resources alone. This led to the idea – which took shape during the UN Climate Summit 2014 in New York – of mobilizing private sector financial resources to finance environmental and sustainable development projects.

 

Engaging with this approach, BNP Paribas Cardif invested in 2018 in the Land Degradation Neutrality fund (LDN fund), which aims to restore degraded land and support local agricultural communities by promoting ecologically responsible agriculture. Led by the investment management firm Mirova with support from the United Nations, the European Investment Bank and the French Development Agency, this fund seeks to combine financial performance with positive impact on the environment and local economies.

 

Among the projects expected to be financed through the LDN initiative is a program to develop coffee plantations in Peru, working with local cooperatives of smallholders. This program involves reforestation (including planting a broader mix of timber species), coupled with diversification of revenue sources. The project aims to reforest 90 square kilometres of land, reduce C02 emissions by 1.3 million metric tons, and improve living conditions for 2,400 producers.

 

By supporting some 15 concrete projects, this fund – created through a public-private partnership – contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) adopted by the United Nations in 2015. This initiative aims to create or support 100,000 decent jobs, primarily in rural areas of developing nations (SDG No. 8) and to fight poverty, especially in rural areas (SDG No. 1). These investments also contribute to combating climate change and its impacts (SDG No. 13), by eliminating 35 million metric tones of CO2 emissions through funding reforestation and sustainable land management projects spanning more than 5,000 square kilometres.

 

This initiative is part of BNP Paribas Cardif’s comprehensive approach to socially responsible investment. The insurer has announced a commitment to doubling its green investments by 2020 and to accelerating socially responsible investments in order to combine financial performance with positive impact on the environment and society.

 

 

 


BNP Paribas Cardif partners HandiTech Awards

19 November 2018

Nanterre, November 15th 2018

Making insurance accessible to the largest possible number of people

The HandiTech Awards ceremony will take place on 19 November, coinciding with the beginning of European Disability Employment Week. The awards recognize players in society who put people at the heart of their innovation initiatives. BNP Paribas Cardif, a global specialist in personal insurance committed to making insurance broadly accessible, will present the award for the best robotics project. The insurer is a partner of the HandiTech Awards, which promote technologies that contribute to progress in addressing social issues, notably creating a more inclusive world for people with disabilities.

BNP Paribas Cardif, a socially engaged company

As a leading provider of insurance for individuals, BNP Paribas Cardif accelerates projects and initiatives that care for people and the environment around the world. With a presence in 35 countries and 100 million clients, the company has made innovation and digitization strategic pillars in order to give the largest possible number of people access to insurance. By taking into account medical advances and technological innovations, BNP Paribas Cardif facilitates access to insurance. This includes regular development of new guarantees and services, reducing exclusions and simplifying the insurance subscription process.

Harnessing innovation to support diversity and inclusion

BNP Paribas pursues numerous initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion.

In 2017, within the framework of its disabilities policy and Corporate Social Responsibility actions, the insurer began working with e-Nable – winner of the first HandiTech Award – to help children with agenesis by making prosthetic hands using 3D printers. This project reflects the company’s interest in new opportunities created by robotics.

By becoming a partner of the 2018 HandiTech Awards, BNP Paribas Cardif reaffirms its commitment to having a positive impact on society.

« As an insurer, the mission of BNP Paribas Cardif is to make insurance available to the largest possible number of people. We work to reinvent insurance by seizing opportunities created by technological progress. We are proud to partner the HandiTech Awards to support an inclusive vision of innovation » said Renaud Dumora, Chief Executive Officer of BNP Paribas Cardif


 

// SAVE THE DATE //

Monday 19 November, Handitech Awards Ceremony

>> Follow the event on Twitter @bnpp_cardif

>> Read a special report on 20 November in Le Figaro Economie


 

Download the press release


Fintech: products aimed at senior citizens gain in maturity

13 November 2018

Nanterre, November 13th 2018

Nowadays we mainly hear about financial startups targeting the mass market or focusing on the Millennial generation. However, there are several other specific sections of the population – including for example women and refugees – that are also potential customers of advanced technology. This goes especially for older people, who represent a growing proportion of the US population and nowadays tend to remain in the workforce for a longer period of time.

"The relationship between aging and technology is burgeoning. There has been a good deal of progress in healthcare technology for consumers,” points out Elizabeth Loewy, co-founder and COO at EverSafe, a specialist in financial protection for families. Moreover “Fintech focused on financial health is just beginning to emerge. Ageing baby boomers approaching retirement are interested in using tech and AI for financial planning."

Fintech firms that target the senior segment of the population typically address twin goals: protecting older people’s finances while ensuring that they do not surrender their independence.  One example is online platform Cake, in business for just three years now, which focuses on ‘end-of-life’ decision-making such as managing the customer’s legal and financial affairs and legacy planning. The company helps those looking towards the final phase of their lives to draw up instructions in the legal and financial sphere – basically using digital tools to ensure that their last wishes are honoured. Meanwhile True Link offers a service that includes an investment account plus customised Visa card with specific features designed to safeguard the financial well-being of elderly persons.

The Silver Economy market is a fairly attractive one, given that, according to Elizabeth Loewy, "by 2050 the number of seniors in the US will nearly double. And seniors currently hold more than 70% of the nation’s wealth. More important, I know from my previous role as a fraud prosecutor how common and devastating elder financial abuse is – it kills seniors and shatters families.” Her startup has therefore set itself the mission of protecting elderly people from financial scams and swindles by using algorithms to detect suspicious movements on their bank accounts. In the same vein, the Senior Money Project provides educational videos free of charge to older people to help them spot scams and fraudulent schemes. EverSafe goes even further than this: its software analyses banking data in order to identify any irregularities, such as unusual outgoings, often of high amounts, the existence of new credit cards, outstanding transactions, etc.

EverSafe’s credo is that “protecting the financial security of older adults and their families is a critical aspect of healthcare." It is usually family members who contact the company. "We’re contacted by seniors and ageing baby boomers who are concerned about their parents and loved ones,” reveals the COO. EverSafe also works in partnership with financial sector professionals such as financial planning specialists, brokers, banks, cooperative lending associations, company HR departments, accountants and financial tutors, among others.

This extended vigilance, embracing multiple fields, is absolutely essential, given that the risk of scams or identity-theft increases as people get older and let their guard down. "Enhanced algorithms, machine learning and software that sends alerts to a team of caregivers in real time may very well make elder financial abuse a thing of the past," foresees Elizabeth Loewy, pointing out: "With seniors’ increasing use of online banking and the internet, fraud-monitoring fintech tools can be implemented by financial institutions."

In any case, the senior citizens of today are not quite like those of previous generations. They are generally fitter and in better health, more enthusiastic about modern technology, and keen to prolong their active lives. They are therefore less likely to find employers’ doors closed to them. Lexy Martin, a woman in her seventies who works at Visier Inc., a company that applies Big Data analytics to the HR field, writes in an article: “Even though I am past the average age of retirement, I love my work and am particularly sensitive to the idea that someone could lose the opportunity to work simply because of their age." Drawing on a report on Ageism in the Tech Industry compiled by Visier, she argues that organisations “need to cast their hiring nets wider to gain the skills and expertise they need in a time of a seller’s talent market, and they also need to work to retain the skills and expertise of their existing older workforce, for the same reason."

In a society where getting older is not necessarily associated with declining abilities, the Tech world appears to be fully aware that elderly people can carve out a place for themselves on the supply side of the economy as well as the demand side. As digital tools become ever more widespread, digital solutions are becoming increasingly accessible to all and many Fintech firms clearly understand the importance of addressing a variety of different publics. Might the days of ageism be numbered?

 

How to look after its health from home? It is what BNP Paribas Cardif France proposes with an online health offer for seniors.

Génération Care is a program developped in partnership with doctors to improve and maintain elderly persons' health thanks to their relatives' involvement.

The principle is simple. The idea is to collect patient's datas from 3 instruments - a scale, a tensiometer, a podometer - which send information thanks to a tablet computer. According to these medical information and the limits previously defined by the referring physician, the tablet computer sends advices to the patient and text messages to relatives. If necessary, alerts are sent to a medical platform which will contact the senior to inform him about the process to be followed. Thanks to these information, it is possible to conduct efficient preventive actions to avoid or postpone the loss of autonomy of the patient and the beginning of his dependency.

The solution Génération Care was created by a Scientific Council composed of general practitioners, geritricians, nurses, physiotherapists and nutritionists. Génération Care was successfully tested in 2017 from about fifty patients, thirtty relatives and ten doctors.

BNP Paribas Cardif strive to make insurance accessible to the largest possible number of people. Thanks to this initiative, BNP Paribas Cardif supports the well-aging through a tablet computer application adapted and designed for elderly persons.

 


Written in partnership with l'Atelier


Quel est le rôle des assureurs dans le financement de l'économie ?

12 November 2018

Nanterre, le 12 Novembre 2018

En tant qu’assureur, BNP Paribas Cardif gère, dans une perspective de long terme, l’épargne confiée par ses assurés et contribue activement à la croissance de l’économie. Ces investissements permettent de répondre aux besoins de rendement de ses clients tout en bénéficiant à l’économie. BNP Paribas Cardif soutient les entreprises dans divers domaines et sous des formes variées : des grandes entreprises aux start-up en passant par les entreprises de l’économie sociale et solidaire. En 2017, l’assureur a investi 12% de son fonds général en actions et a également financé l’économie à travers l’achat de dette avec une part importante d’obligations corporate dans son allocation d’actifs.

 

Le Fonds Stratégique de Participations, dont BNP Paribas Cardif est l’un des membres fondateurs, a choisi de s’engager dans le secteur des énergies renouvelables en investissant dans Neoen, le premier producteur français indépendant d’énergie verte. Cette intiative illustre le rôle fondamental de l’assurance au service du financement de l’économie réelle. « Lorsque nous prenons des participations de long terme dans le capital de sociétés françaises à fort potentiel de croissance, nous leur donnons les moyens de grandir. Nous devenons un actionnaire stable et significatif afin d’apporter un support à leur stratégie de développement », explique Olivier Héreil, Directeur général adjoint de BNP Paribas Cardif en charge des Gestions d’actifs.

 

BNP Paribas Cardif a progressivement accru son rôle dans le financement des PME[1] et ETI[2] en investissant notamment dans les fonds NOVO[3] et NOVI[4] pour financer la croissance et l’innovation de ces entreprises. L’intégration du private equity dans son offre d’assurance vie en 2016 représente également un soutien fondamental aux entreprises, à chaque étape de leur développement. « Investir au capital d’une ETI, au travers d’un fonds d’investissement, c’est lui donner les moyens d’accompagner sa croissance afin qu’elle puisse exporter et développer de nouveaux produits ou services », décrypte Olivier Héreil.

 

BNP Paribas Cardif investit aussi dans une dizaine de start-up dans le cadre de son fonds d’investissement C. Entrepreneurs. L’assureur accompagne des start-up, de toutes origines, qui développent des technologies ou des services qui contribuent à inventer les solutions d’assurance de demain dans de nombreux domaines tels que l'intelligence artificielle, le machine learning, la blockchain ou la voiture connectée.

 

En tant qu’investisseur engagé, BNP Paribas Cardif soutient les entreprises de l’Economie Sociale et Solidaire (ESS). Cette volonté s’est récemment illustrée par sa participation au fonds NovESS, lancé par la Caisse des Dépôts. L’ESS, qui représente 10 % du PIB français et 10,5 % de l’emploi salarié, présente des besoins de financement importants, notamment en matière de fonds propres. Le fonds NovESS vise à soutenir les entreprises de l’ESS innovantes socialement et à les faire changer d’échelle.

 

En agissant sur ces différents leviers, l’assurance tient le rôle qui est le sien : accompagner et protéger les ménages et les entreprises tout en soutenant le financement de l’économie réelle. « Nous gérons, dans une perspective de long terme, l’épargne confiée par nos assurés avec une double conviction : combiner performance financière et impact positif sur la société », ajoute Olivier Héreil.

 

 

 

[1] Petites et Moyennes Entreprises

[2] Entreprises de Taille Intermédiaire

[3] Fonds de Prêt à l’Economie

[4] Fonds de Prêt à l’Economie


Cap Green, a new offer from AEP to protect capital while seizing opportunities created by the energy transition

06 November 2018

Nanterre, 06 November 2018

AEP, a commercial brand of BNP Paribas Cardif and a major player in life insurance investment solutions for high net worth individuals, has introduced a new offer eligible for inclusion in capitalization contracts for legal entities subject to corporate tax. Cap Green enables clients to benefit from the performance of equity markets while protecting their capital.

A new offer to protect invested capital  

Cap Green offers asset allocation that complete protects funds invested thanks to a combination of euro fund investments and a structured product. Proposed within the scope of capitalization contracts for legal entities subject to corporate tax, Cap Green has several distinctive features:

  • Split asset allocation, with 60% in the euro fund and 40% in a structured product,

  • Capital protection over a medium-term horizon (between 4 and 5 years),

  • A socially responsible investment (SRI) via an energy transition index.

Socially responsible investment for meaningful savings 

The share allocated to the structured product within the Cap Green offer is linked to the Euronext Eurozone Energy Transition Leaders 50EW Decrement 5% index, which has been selected by Vigeo Eiris, a European leader in ESG research. Vigeo Eiris assigns each company an Energy Transition score, which is applied to select the 50 companies with the best scores among the 75 largest market capitalizations in the euro zone.

This new offer centered on the energy transition is aligned with BNP Paribas Cardif’s responsible investing strategy. The insurer manages the funds entrusted to it by policyholders with a long-term perspective, combining financial performance with a positive impact on society. BNP Paribas Cardif has long held a firm belief that the progressively taking into account Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria contributes to maintaining better living conditions for its clients today, and for their beneficiaries in the future.

Cap Green makes it possible to benefit from both the long-term performance of equity markets and the security of euro fund investments. What’s more, this offer gives relevant meaning to savings by actively supporting the energy transition,” says Bruno Valersteinas, Director of banking and corporate partnerships, BNP Paribas Cardif France.

 

About BNP Paribas Cardif

World leader for creditor insurance[1] , BNP Paribas Cardif plays an essential role in the lives of insured customers, providing them with savings and protection solutions that let them realize their goals while protecting themselves from unforeseen events. As a committed enterprise, BNP Paribas Cardif strives to have a positive impact on society and make insurance accessible to the largest possible number of people. In a world shaped by the emergence of new uses and lifestyles, the company, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, has a unique business model anchored in partnerships. It co-creates solutions with almost 500 partners distributors in a variety of sectors (banks and financial institutions, automotive companies, retailers, telecommunications companies, energy companies, Independent Financial Advisors and brokers…) who then market the products to their customers. BNP Paribas Cardif is a recognized global specialist in personal insurance, serving 100 million clients in 35 countries with strong positions in three regions – Europe, Asia and Latin America. BNP Paribas Cardif also plays a major role in providing financing for the economy. With over 10,000 employees[2] worldwide, BNP Paribas Cardif had gross written premiums of €29.7 billion in 2017.

About AEP

AEP is a commercial brand of BNP Paribas Cardif that designs and markets savings products for high net worth clients of private banks, asset management firms and brokerage platforms.

 

BNP Paribas Cardif press contacts:

Valérie Oberlin – 01 41 42 78 17 – valerie.oberlin@bnpparibas.com

Marion Saraf – 01 41 42 70 71 – marion.saraf@bnpparibas.com

Caroline Le Roux – 01 41 42 65 61 – caroline.leroux@bnpparibas.com


 

Download the press release


 


[1] Source: Finaccord - 2017

[2] Headcount of legal entities managed by BNP Paribas Cardif: nearly 8,000 employees


IDD, Europe sets a new standard for sales

03 October 2018

Nanterre, 2 October 2018
How we sell insurance to half a billion European citizens is getting much clearer. Banks,department stores, automobile concessions and other distributors can implement the EU's Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD) since October 1st. This is an opportunity for the distributors to enhance the sales experience for improved customer satisfaction.

 

The general features and attractions of insurance policies has became clearer for over half a billion people when the European Union’s Insurance Distributive Directive (IDD) comes into force this month.

The legislation gives consumers across the 28 Member States, from Ireland to Cyprus, a better picture of what they are buying from insurance distributors ; and insurance distributors a new form of obligation to understand consumer needs.

The aims are to better match individuals’ needs with the insurance products they buy; and reduce inappropriate selling.The IDD applies to life and non-life insurance,including products such as accident cover or creditor protection. It affects not just distributors but advisers and insurers themselves. Major players such as BNP Paribas Cardif, active in 17 Member States, have actively prepared for IDD’s arrival on October 1st. BNP Paribas Cardif sees IDD as a tremendous opportunity to better ensure that the products correspond to the customer’s needs , improve their experience of the sales process and equally protect the brand of distribution partners.“We are here to offer ongoing support in all aspects of the new legislation and its impact,” says Xavier Cognat, Director for Institutional Affairs at BNP Paribas Cardif.

IDD’s first requirement is to ensure that insurance products are sold to their intended target market. For example retirees should be outside of the target market of products offering salary protection. The responsibility of selling within a target market is ongoing and BNP Paribas Cardif is ready to assist partners establish a monitoring programme.

Secondly, each prospective customer Is presented with a simple document outlining what any insurance policy does and does not cover; where it applies; how long it lasts and other key features.

The official template for the Insurance Product Information Document (IPID) below gives a general sense of the tone and contents expected. The IPID is the protection industry’s equivalent to Key Investor Information Document (KIID) for savings products in the European Union. The IPID is designed to be transparent and easy to understand for customers

allowing them to easily compare features of different insurance products.

BNP Paribas Cardif provides the IPIDs to its partners, who are responsible for presenting them to their customers during the pre-contractual stage of any sale. Prospective customers must also be informed of the nature of remuneration earned by the distributor. The legislation seeks to ensure that the incentives to sell products do not conflict with the customer’s best interests.

 

 

 

 

 

On this point, it is worth noting that in some countries the rate of remuneration must also be disclosed (eg creditor protection in Italy, and protection insurance in Sweden). This is a reminder that the IDD is a minimum standards regulation. Any of the 28 countries in the European Union can impose higher standards, which means distributors have to divulge more information to potential customers, depending on which countries they operate in. BNP Paribas Cardif is on hand to help partners understand differences in national regulations and follow local best practice.

Customers must also be clear on whether they are being advised when buying an insurance product.

The distinction between advised and non-advised is yet another practice to ensure individuals are clear on the service being offered. In both cases, distributors have to document that customers’needs have been met. BNP Paribas Cardif sees this as an opportunity to build up customer profiles using the latest technology and is sharing its savoir-faire in digitalization, data management and algorithms with partners.

Howewer, digitalisation will not replace the human sales force any time soon. The IDD formalises the need for continuous training. Employees responsible for selling protection insurance (including managers of the salesforce) must receive at least 15 hours training per year. The training, depending on member states transpositions, can take many forms, including digital learning and classroom sessions. Derogations to training requirements apply for distributors selling ancillary cover for mobile phone or extended warrantee.

 

Finally, distributors should be aware of the effect of IDD on selling insurance products ancillary to a good or aservice as part of a package. The legislation favours transparency and customer choice. So for example where mortgage providers can require customers to take out payment protection, IDD prefers an openmarket choice over an exclusive restriction to buy the protection from the mortgage provider. To understand further how insurance offerings need to be clarified,BNP Paribas Cardif welcomes the chance to explain these new regulations to its partners.


Data science: BNP Paribas Cardif joins scikit-learn consortium

20 September 2018

Nanterre, 18 September 2018

On 17 September INRIA[i], the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation, announced the creation of a consortium to promote and develop scikit-learn, a leading software machine learning library used by data scientists around the world. In joining this consortium BNP Paribas Cardif will expand its role in collaborative data science platforms and deepen the company’s expertise in this field, which will play an increasingly important role in tomorrow’s insurance services.

 

Scikit-learn is a free software machine learning library. A reference for  data science experts, scikit-learn currently counts 526,000 users per month for a wide variety of applications such as forecasting user behaviour, fighting online fraud and spam, optimization of industrial and logistics processes and targeted marketing, for example.

 

A consortium has been created with support from the INRIA Foundation to develop and stimulate the scikit-learn ecosystem. In particular this will facilitate the integration of new contributions, along with the addition of ambitious new features to serve the vast community of scikit-learn users and developers.

 

As an insurer, BNP Paribas Cardif is a company whose management is data-driven. Because data science plays a pivotal role in the client experience and the design of tomorrow’s insurance solution, BNP Paribas Cardif is looking forward to playing an active role within the new consortium.

 

In becoming a member BNP Paribas Cardif also affirms its commitment to open source development. The insurer will actively support the growth of scikit-learn and contribute to defining strategic priorities.

 

Transforming data into value for clients: a top priority for the insurance industry

 

BNP Paribas Cardif has worked to embed digital solutions in every aspect of its operations since 2013. Digitization figures at the centre of the BNP Paribas Cardif 2020 strategic plan. These solutions enable greater volumes of more diverse data to be gathered and valorized to benefit the company’s policyholders and distributor partners.

 

Analyzing data enables BNP Paribas Cardif to optimize the customer journey, refine its offers and define new solutions. By leveraging data BNP Paribas Cardif aims to automate 80% of its processes by 2022.

 

The company’s data-related efforts are led by its Data Lab’, a centre of expertise with a secure environment dedicated to developing and applying algorithms designed to improve its services.

 

The BNP Paribas Cardif Data Lab’ is equipped with:

  • An IT environment with high-performance computing power,

  • An algorithm management and monitoring platform,

  • An open research & development ecosystem.

 

The algorithms developed have led to the tools capable of automating verification of certain insurance policy clauses, processing supporting documents and providing compensation for claims, among other applications. All these applications flow through to tangible improvements in the client experience, risk prevention, business development and service quality.

 

An initiative in Spain involving management of creditor insurance claims, for example, is targeting 80% automated decisions. Thanks to artificial intelligence, BNP Paribas Cardif will be able to automatically analyze client documents and in some instances make monthly payments without waiting for policyholders to provide all the supporting documents needed. A third of clients will thus receive immediate approval following a claim. For applications requiring additional information, the claim application will be processed within four hours after documents are received. The goal is to respond as rapidly as possible to enrich the client experience.

 

“Open source software and free libraries such as scikit-learn play an essential role in the advancement of data science and make an active contribution to the development of innovative offers and services. We are proud to be a stakeholder in the scikit-learn consortium and to support the growth of this reference in the data science ecosystem,” says Michael de Toldi, Chief Analytics Officer of BNP Paribas Cardif.

 

 

About BNP Paribas Cardif

 

World leader for creditor insurance[ii], BNP Paribas Cardif plays an essential role in the lives of insured customers, providing them with savings and protection solutions that let them realize their goals while protecting themselves from unforeseen events. As a committed enterprise, BNP Paribas Cardif strives to have a positive impact on society and make insurance accessible to the largest possible number of people.

 

In a world shaped by the emergence of new uses and lifestyles, the company, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, has a unique business model anchored in partnerships. It co-creates solutions with almost 500 partners distributors in a variety of sectors (banks and financial institutions, automotive companies, retailers, telecommunications companies, energy companies, Independent Financial Advisors and brokers…) who then market the products to their customers.

 

BNP Paribas Cardif is a recognized global specialist in personal insurance, serving 100 million clients in 35 countries with strong positions in three regions – Europe, Asia and Latin America. BNP Paribas Cardif also plays a major role in providing financing for the economy. With over 10,000 employees[iii] worldwide, BNP Paribas Cardif had gross written premiums of €29.7 billion in 2017.


 

Download the press release

 


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[i] INRIA (Institut National De Recherche en Sciences du Numérique / French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation) is the only public research establishment dedicated exclusively to digital sciences. The institute conducts high level research in computer science and applied mathematics and assesses the economic and social impact.

[ii] Source: Finaccord - 2017

[iii] Headcount of legal entities managed by BNP Paribas Cardif: nearly 8,000 employees


Smart Phygital : transforming the store into an experience

20 September 2018

The days when we regarded bricks-and-mortar shops and digital commerce as diametric opposites now seem very long ago. After a decade during which the digital economy has penetrated ever-deeper into our lives, it is clear that physical retail has not disappeared but is very much still with us.

From supermarkets to shopping malls, from local shops to in-store pick-up of online orders, retail businesses are constantly re-aligning to suit the latest modes of consumption driven by the new technologies and the new ways of doing things which they engender. Moving from one new paradigm to another, the retail sector has proved over time to be extremely adaptable.  And still today, bricks-and-mortar stores are undergoing a further metamorphosis, developing a new ‘Smart Phygital approach that places the Customer Experience at the centre of everything.

Gamification and optimisation of space: focus on CX

Having been badly shaken for a while by the advent of e-commerce and Internet shopping sites, bricks-and-mortar retailers have now managed to incorporate the best aspects of the digital approach so as to create an attractive new in-store experience, optimising the shopping journey and giving a whole new feel to the purchasing act. Most high-street chains have now grasped the fact that it makes no sense to set the physical retail process against online shopping because the two types of sales are in fact complementary. They have therefore largely opted for a multichannel strategy which enables them to offer a 360° service to customers – at the store, via e-commerce sites or on a smartphone. This is certainly the case with the two French retail giants: Monoprix recently linked up with Amazon; while Carrefour has just taken over FoodTech firm Quitoque, which specialises in delivering baskets of food for cooking to a particular recipe. Moreover, these digital channels have become progressively integrated into bricks-and-mortar outlets in a ‘smart’ way, offering innovative new services and providing a more engaging Customer Experience. The ‘phygital’ empire has definitely arrived.

In addition, high-street chains are now increasingly looking to create personalised in-store customer journeys by gamifying the spaces with spectacular Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality functionality or interacting directly with the customer via his/her smartphone. This enables the retailer to expand the sales surface, raise the profile of the product and engage more closely with the customer, turning product discovery and purchasing act into a form of entertainment. At the same time, storytelling around the product image and brand image is becoming an essential element.

In 2017 BNP Paribas Cardif and Cardif Romania have joined their forces to create a serious game on Theft&Damage insurance. This initiative was launched with our partner Carrefour in Romania. Thanks to Virtual Reality, the player finds him/herself in a virtual park where he/she has to protect his/her phone from breakdown, damages and theft dangers. In the end, customers were invited to speak with commercial teams to get more information and subscribe. More than 3000 players had the chance to test the serious game in only 3 months. This win-win project with our partner Carrefour is a good example of how technology can enhance customers’s journey.

 

In addition to creating a fun aspect that helps brands to engage with the customer, this approach also enables retailers to optimise the available space at their sales outlets. However, while numerous experiments of this kind are currently being carried out, Matthieu Soulé, Deputy CEO of L’Atelier BNP Paribas Americas, underlines nevertheless that “these mechanisms haven’t yet really become a regular habit. We’re just at the very start of the phenomenon. Today we mainly use smartphones because all these connected objects and other digital devices that are now being tried out are rather complicated and are more about marketing and in-store demonstration than indicative of a real revolution in the way a bricks-and-mortar store operates.”

 

A new CX that gives added meaning to consumption
 

In fact, more important than the experimentation aspect, sales outlets most of all need to rediscover their social side, becoming a meeting point with the emphasis on fun as much as business. Above all, it is vital not to reduce the Customer Experience to a simple purchasing act. Shopping ought to be a pleasure. Accordingly, digital tools can help to orchestrate these different aspects of the retail world by organising different types of activities around the products. In a nutshell, the retail store of the future is likely to be a cross between sales outlet, fablab, coffee shop, amusement park and interactive museum. Matthieu Soulé points out: “Pop-up stores have shown that while this type of physical experience works well for certain concepts or certain brands, it’s ephemeral rather than really sustainable.” The experience will therefore need to go beyond the actual product and directly touch the customer and his/her ever-more-complex needs and expectations.

 

Today the customer has become a powerful player in his/her own consumption and is now much more demanding in terms of the management of his time and money. The customer-centric shop must therefore be able to respond in a personalised way to these demands by offering a range of activities that go beyond mere sales. US giant Target has grasped this. The Target Open House is an innovation venue where customers can test out new products and also attend a range of events and workshops, thus creating a commercial venue which sets out to augment the products and the overall offering from a customer point of view.  Rather than merely piling up an array of digital tools at a store, the idea here is to turn the sales point into a versatile, customised, connected services hub.

 

A low-profile payment process

 

Meanwhile, the bricks-and-mortar shop can still learn a lot from online commerce, especially when it comes to financial services. By digitalising both the shopping basket and the payment and linking them directly with the services and activities on offer, the shop of the future will minimise or ‘hide’ the less pleasant aspects of shopping, such as the moment when you have to line up at the checkout. Which makes us think immediately of the checkout-free stores, a cross between the physical and digital worlds, introduced earlier this year by Amazon Go. Says Matthieu Soulé: “Clearly, this Amazon approach pushes the concept to the extreme, but it’s not unreasonable to imagine intermediate models where the financial services might not disappear entirely but will nevertheless melt into the overall customer experience.” It is precisely with this kind of thing in mind that US bank Capital One launched its own chain of snack restaurants, called Capital One Café, where customers can meet up, chat and obtain all kinds of information about the bank’s services. This tech-based, low-profile approach is intended to help streamline the provision of products and services and make the customer journey as natural and easy as possible.

 

All these new ideas serve to reorient and redefine the consumer experience. By emphasising the moment rather than the actual product or service, these players are reintroducing a new element that is absolutely indispensable to commercial relations: the human touch. After all, whether we are talking about financial or commercial transactions or inter-personal communication, it is basically interaction between people that underpins our society. Matthieu Soulé stresses that “one of the great benefits of bricks-and-mortar shops resides in the human touch – and the advice – we get from the salespeople. Their personal remarks are just as good as, or even better than, those we obtain from the algorithms developed by online platforms. And it will always be much nicer to receive face-to-face recommendations from a human being than by scrolling down a screen.” It is this type of human interaction, which is more profound and perhaps more rewarding than the actual business transaction, which it is so vital to re-establish. Let’s hope that ‘smart phygital’ will enable us to move in this direction!

 

Written in partnership with l'Atelier